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DEA Seizes Far Fewer Marijuana Plants Under Obama Administration

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA continues to seize and destroy less marijuana under the Obama administration, the Washington Post reports.

Last year the DEA destroyed 4.3 million marijuana plants, compared to 10.4 million in 2009.

The “cannabis eradication program” provides money to local and state law enforcement agencies to destroy marijuana plants. But those funds have been drying up.

The Post wrote:

Marijuana eradication teams, who criss-cross the countryside in helicopters looking for grow sites, occasionally become overzealous in carrying out their missions. The Georgia Governor’s Task Force for Drug Suppression earned notoriety last year when they raided a retiree’s garden after misidentifying okra as marijuana. Last month, a member of DEA’s marijuana eradication team in Utah warned lawmakers there that a medical marijuana bill would lead inevitably to stoned rabbits in the state’s forests.

Other Stories of Interest


Defense for Marathon Bombing Suspects Grills FBI Special Agent about Evidence

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The trial for suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev continued Monday as defense attorneys grilled FBI Special Agent Kevin Swindon about his knowledge of computers and the evidence.

MassLive.com reports that attorney William Fick appeared to grow agitated as Swindon struggled to answer some of his questions.

Swindon was unable to answer some of the questions directly, frustrating Fick.

The testimony sheds some light on the defense’s strategy, which appears to be discrediting the evidence.

The evidence was collected from three computers.

The trial continues today.

Maryland Makes Big Pledge to FBI in Hopes of Luring New Headquarters

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com
 
Maryland is trying its best to lure the FBI’s headquarters to the state. 

The Washington Post reports that Maryland and Prince George County have pledged to commit hundreds of millions of dollars on road improvements if the FBI relocates from downtown Washington to Greenbelt or Landover.

Support has also come from the state’s congressional delegation.

Maryland is locked in a tight competition for the headquarters with Springfield in Fairfax County.

The headquarters will bring an estimated 11,000 FBI jobs.

Justice Department Investigating Milwaukee U.S. Attorney for Alleged Misuse of Credit Card

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

U.S. Attorney James Santelle is under investigation on accusations that he misused the government-assigned credit card and violated a law barring federal employees from some political activities, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

The Department of Justice is leading the investigation, which started more than a  year ago following a routine audit.

Investigators are trying to determine whether the credit card was used for non-official use, like food.

Santelle, who works in Milwaukee, declined to comment.

“I am not in a position to comment other than those matters are both with the Department of Justice,” he said Monday.

FBI’s Fabled Behavioral Analysis Unit to Investigate Hanging Death of Black Man

Otis Byrd

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI will use its Behavioral Analysis Unit to investigate the hanging death of Mississippi man Otis Byrd, the USA Today reports.

The unit  “focuses specifically on criminal human behavior in an attempt to better understand criminals — who they are, how they think, why they do what they do — as a means to help solve crimes,” according to FBI.gov.

The hope is that the unit will help determine whether Byrd, 54, committed suicide or was murdered.

He was found hanging from a tree by a bed sheet near his last known residence last week.

Investigation of Democratic Senator Gives New Chances to DOJ’s Public Integrity Section

Robert Menendez

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The revamped anti-corruption unit of the Justice Department ha an opportunity to redeem itself in the federal corruption investigation of Sen. Robert Menendez, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The top leadership of the Public Integrity Section resigned after an embarrassing slip up led to the dismissal of Alaska Republican Sen. Ted Stevens’ conviction.

“Now the unit — created in the Watergate era to ferret out political corruption — has the chance to restore its tattered reputation with what is likely to be its first prosecution of a sitting U.S. senator since Stevens,” The Times wrote.

The Justice Department is expected soon to decide whether to charge the New Jersey Democrat, who is accused of receiving gifts in exchange for helping a Florida doctor’s business in the Caribbean.

“I think the Public Integrity Section got totally gun-shy after Stevens,” said Melanie Sloan, a former federal prosecutor who is a lawyer for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group. “Since Stevens, they prosecuted John Edwards for a nonexistent crime, and they failed to prosecute John Ensign for clearly established ones.”

 

Suspect Fatally Shot by Border Patrol Agent Wanted for Murder in Washington

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The man shot and killed by a Border Patrol agent last week was wanted for murder, KMVT.com reports. 

Investigators said a man was crossing the border illegally in Sumas in Washington when the shooting occurred.

“The subject refused the agents commands then assaulted one of the agents with an unknown incapacitating spray,” said Dan M. Harris Jr., chief Border Patrol agent for the Blaine sector.

Turns out, the suspect, 20-year-old Jamison Childress, was wanted for murder outside Whatcom County, where the shooting happened.

 

 

Washington Times: Why Homeland Security Is Sad Place to Work

By The Washington Times
Editorial Board

No department of the government has a mission more important than the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), created after Sept. 11, 2001 to defend and protect the towns and cities, the farms and factories of the American homeland. It ought to be one of the most attractive places in Washington to work, inspired by pride and sacrifice to deliver a job well done. But it isn’t. It’s one of the worst.

By one measure it has succeeded beyond bureaucratic dreams. The department has grown to encompass 22 agencies, with 168,000 full-time permanent employees. Armies become lean and mean when they fight on home soil, but this bureaucracy has become fat and forlorn. A survey by the Partnership for Public Service to determine the best place to work among large federal agencies ranks the Department of Homeland Security dead last. Both Democrats and Republicans in both the House and Senate are trying to find out why.

The bureaucrats have resorted to the usual “studies” and “task forces” to find out why everyone in the place is so sad. If that doesn’t answer the questions, they will commission another study to find out why the first study failed. Millions have been spent on these studies already.

Techdirt, an independent blog about the bureaucracies, reports that employees complain that “senior leaders are ineffective; that the department discourages innovation, and that promotions and raises are not based on merit. Others have described in interviews how a stifling bureaucracy and relentless congressional criticism makes DHS an exhausting, even infuriating, place to work.”

Now even Congress has noticed. The Washington Post reports that Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, a Democrat, last week wrote to ask Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to account for how the study money was spent. “The volume of reports that DHS has commissioned to address these issues is concerning,” she wrote, “and morale continues to remain low in the department. It is unclear who is commissioning these reports and who, if anyone, is reading them.” She is the ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. She wants answers by March 27, and asked Mr. Johnson “to provide costs and details of all studies DHS has done on employee morale in the past five years; the names and titles of each official who approved the studies; the recommendations they made and whether any were implemented, and whether any of the more recent studies were approved by [Mr.] Johnson or his appointees.”

To read more click here.

Other Stories of Interest